A House Democrat on Wednesday proposed offering $5 million a year in matching grants to help health-care facilities add backup power systems.
Rep. Larry Lee Jr., D-Port St. Lucie, filed the proposal (HB 435) for consideration during the 2018 legislative session, which starts in January. It comes after Hurricane Irma on Sept. 10 knocked out the air conditioning system at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, a Broward County nursing home. Eight residents of the sweltering nursing home died Sept. 13, and six others died subsequently after being evacuated.
Under Lee's bill, the state would make available $5 million a year from the 2018-2019 fiscal year through the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The money would be available as matching grants to public and private health-care facilities and could be used for generators, batteries and other equipment needed for emergency power systems. The program would be administered by the Florida Department of Health.
Lee also filed a separate bill (HB 437) that calls for the Florida Building Code to require public and private health-care facilities to have emergency power sources.